FeatureKhyber Pakhtunkhwa

North Waziristan reports 2nd polio case in a week, fears ‘outbreak’

After Pakistan confirmed its first polio case this week, another polio positive case contracted in North Waziristan, raising fears of an outbreak.

An unvaccinated 24-month-old girl had been paralysed by the virus in restive North Waziristan. The wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) on confirmed on April 22 by the polio laboratory at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad with the onset of paralysis on April 14, the statement said. The diagnosis marked the second clinical case of polio in North Waziristan in a week.

The first polio case was detected in the district earlier this month on April 23, nearly after 15 months in the country. IT is also the fourth case of wild poliovirus to be recorded globally so far this year. The polio has been eliminated in most countries of the world but continues to surface in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health in Islamabad Friday confirmed the detection of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus from the stool specimen of a 24-month old girl from district North Waziristan, the National Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Eradication said in a statement.

The girl had onset of paralysis on 14 April 2022, it said.

This is the second Wild Poliovirus case in 2022 in Pakistan after the first one was reported from the same district on 22 April 2022.

Pakistan had reported only one WPV1 case in 2021 which had onset of paralysis on 27 January in Killa Abdullah, Balochistan. In December last, UNICEF had signaled of polio eradication in Pakistan after only a single case was reported in year of 2021.

Genetic analysis of the new Type-1 Wild Poliovirus case shows that the virus belongs to YB3C cluster and is linked to the Poliovirus case reported last week. This indicates well-established Wild Poliovirus circulation within district North Waziristan, the polio eradication center said.

Polio drops not administered

Dr Shehzad Baig, the head of the National Anti-Polio Program, told media that the samples of the infected girl were sent to the National Institute of Health in Islamabad on April 21 and on Friday the virus was confirmed.

“Unfortunately, in both cases of polio this year, the children belonged to denial families and they did not get polio drops,” he said.

Dr Baig said that no case of poliovirus was reported in Pakistan in the previous 15 months but experts had been saying that there is poliovirus in the environment of six districts of South Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Presence of poliovirus in parts of KP

He said that at present there are indications of poliovirus being present in the environment of Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, North and South Waziristan of KPK.

The poliovirus has been eradicated from other parts of the country, said Dr Baig adding that if any other case surfaced in future, it would be traced back to these districts.

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